Glass Butterflies and adoption….

6 Feb

Glass Butterfly for Sarah’s Wedding….Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek None of my formatting is holding… Off to explore a fix for it… But here’s my post anyway….   I made this piece for my little sister, who is getting married (eloping! woohoo!) this weekend… This piece, and Sarah (my sister) mean so much to me for so many reasons…. Some of you know that I am, or was, an only child for 30 years…. Some of you know that I was also adopted into my family at 3 weeks old…Two years ago, just before Christmas, I got an email that started something like “I think I may be the person you have been looking for”… A couple of weeks later I received a sweet card from another woman I had never met that was supposed to arrive, I think, before that startling email but because I forgot to change my address on that one online registry, it took the scenic route…They found me. My birthmom, Julie, and my little sister, Sarah. They found me.After a near match with a possible biological father and his sister (that proved heartbreaking all around, it wasn’t a match but I still occasional email with my not-really-my-aunt but still so wonderful) I finally just let my desire to find a biological relative cool off…. I figured that it wasn’t meant to be… Arizona (where I was born in 1975) and NY (where the adoption was finalized and where I was raised) have rules on searching and records and releasing even non-identifying information that excluded me completely from receiving even pleasantries from either state agency…. The adoption lawyer, Stanley Michelman, has long since left law but had been working on cataloging all of the old files and promised to keep in touch…I just let everything go. I lost hope, but not in a hanging my head low sort of a way…I really let go and moved on without another thought…. For the first time in 30 years I didn’t totally lose my marbles on my birthday. Ok I didn’t celebrate either, but I wasn’t a complete mess like I had been every year since I was a kid and it dawned on my, on that day, that someone that I didn’t know might be thinking of me, someone that I didn’t know might have blanked me out of there mind, someone that I didn’t know might just not care, and that someone that I didn’t know carried me around with them for 9 months and just gave me away- and from the story that I knew, of my adoption, they kept me for 3 weeks and then still decided to give me away. While I know the true story now, and learning it has been a long, intense healing process for all of us involved, it’s really hard having that one day a year and not wanting to get out of bed, and having nobody (at least nobody I knew pre-wide spread internet use) else who could understand….So they found me. Not only was there one person who thought about me on my birthday, she thought about me more than that… In fact, I quickly learned, I have four siblings that were all raised knowing that they had a big sister out there in the world somewhere.Imagine wishing every year, as a child, that Santa would bring you a sibling and then 30 years later, after abandoning that wish, you get a Christmas card from a sister you didn’t know you had. Yeah. Intense. Between the email from my biomom, and the many emails that have followed, and the letter she sent in a Christmas care package and my sister Sarah’s card and letter I was a mess. I was a happy mess, but I couldn’t stop crying long enough to say a single word. The decision my birthmom made to give me up when she was 17 years old did change our lives forever. I was always told, when I took my parents for granted, which all kids do, “Imagine if ‘she’ kept you, what your life would be like”…. But there was no imagining with me- I never imagined any of it. I was a creative and imaginative kid, but I never let my brain go there. It’s probably the one thing in my life where I have never said “what if….” and maybe that was a saving grace at times….The decision my birthmom made to find me (she searched for so long and then boom, one night, there was my information…we were so accidentally close at times- she worked in the same company as my parent’s next door neighbor who adopted twins around that time so my mom and I were discussing the whole adoption thing with that neighbor while in the next state my birthmom was working away and wondering….) was perhaps more life changing. The loose ends have been tied up. The questions have been answered. My heart and soul have healed so much. Being given up at birth by your mother is known in adoption as “the primal wound”. That primal wound will always be a part of me, but it is more of a scar these days….Slowly fading and sinking into the skin….And I have siblings.Sarah, who is the oldest of their family, and I are very close…. She came to visit last year and it wasn’t weird or awkward like everyone assumed it would be. There was this calmness, this familiarity, this connection…. Like you have with your oldest friends- you know the ones, you lose touch for awhile, life goes on, and then somehow, someway you reconnect down the line and it’s like not a day has passed, except there are some new tales to tell…. Anyway, Sarah is getting married this weekend….Her/our grandma passed away a few years ago and she and Julie still talk about her and still have a hard time with her passing- understandably so, from what I have heard she was an amazing woman…. She collected glass and crystal for years and loved butterflies…. Sarah mentioned a few times that she wanted to incorporate butterflies somewhere in her wedding….When Sarah was visiting us here in Florida awhile back we went for a nice slow drive through this local nature preserve…. We got out of the car to take pictures and a single, beautiful monarch butterfly followed us around. It felt like the past, and Sarah’s grandma, was saying that everything was good. And it was….It is good.  There are hard days and moments still, but it is so much easier to weather them with so much love around me.   So I made this piece for Sarah….She should be getting it today, before they leave on their drive to the Smokey Mountains for their wedding weekend… Sarah and Greg are doing their wedding in a way that is a perfect match for them- surrounded by peace and quiet and nature and soft sounds…. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to meet Greg in person (although he and Jeff look and act so much alike it’s kind of crazy sometimes)….So this is a vintage, glass butterfly…The theme and material borrowed from the memory of her/our grandma…. Set in sterling silver, by me…..With love…. A connection to the past brought to current times….Congrats little sister! I am forever in awe of you.

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6 Responses to “Glass Butterflies and adoption….”

  1. carrie February 6, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    amazing, beautiful, crying………..
    sooooooo blessed………..
    xoxo,
    Carrie

  2. 4ever mom 2-4 February 7, 2008 at 12:15 am #

    I’m glad thy found you. Stanley Michelman is a known bad guy of adoption. Perhaps you might consider getting involved in helping to change the archaic laws that keep people like you and your mom and sister apart. Check out Bastards.org

  3. beclever February 7, 2008 at 11:22 am #

    Actually, Stanley Michelman was a hero in our case. He has a bad rep but is not a bad guy, actually quite the opposite…

    My birthmom had contact with him during her pregnancy, but nothing official… Then I was born, but no final decisions had been made regarding me, except that, until details were figured out I would be going home with my birthmom and bio-grandma… They went to get clothing to bring me home in and when they returned I was gone. Social services had decided that since my birthmom had not decided how I would be adopted, they would put me a foster home. I spent the first three weeks of my life in a foster home because social services wanted to have a pissing contest with private adoption proceedings – and which agency would handle the adoption hadn’t been decided by anyone. I was stolen, from the hospital by social services.

    My birthmom then called Mr. Michelman, with whom she had chatted earlier in the pregnancy, and told him what happened. He hopped on a plane to Arizona (he was working in NYC at the time) to help my birthmom. He fought, in court, against social services so adoption proceedings could be completed. My birthmom was there, in court, it was terrible. She was given a few minutes with me before I was officially relinquished and she spent those minutes in a public restroom with me trying desperately to clean me up for my new family as social services presented me, fresh from a foster home (which may have been intended as a permanent placement) absolutely filthy. Visible dirt on my face and hands and only a baby bottle filled with water, no formula or milk.

    Many folks have issue with Michelman, but he served us well…. He helped a terrified girl, with very little family support, through a difficult time, and he found me a family…

  4. rebecca foley July 11, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    I am searching for my daughter adoption handled by
    Stanley Michelman, I believe my daughter was taken
    across state lines before any paperwork was signed
    I also decided not to go through with the adoption
    and was threatened by a “social worker” and mr michelman.

  5. cathmandu September 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    Stanley Michelman lied to me about many things regarding an adoption. The worst lie was that when my son was 18 years old the adoption records would be open. I waited 18 years, the day he turned 18 I called the records department. I was informed that I was misinformed, that in that particular states the records stay closed forever.

    It was a nightmare, absolutely heart breaking.

  6. beclever September 22, 2008 at 10:44 pm #

    Cathmandu-

    whether or not your son’s adoption was open or closed depends on different things, depending on your state, the time period…Numerous factors…

    In my case, for example, even if my adoption had been “open” I would have not been able to get any information and it would have been treated as a closed adoption, even at age 18 or older. This is because I was born and relinquished in one state and the adoption was finalized in another. And in that case neither state will give out any info…

    Also, many laws surrounding identity and adoption changed over the years.

    I’m sure you have your problems with the adoption and how it was handled, but if you have any information at all I do suggest you register at adoption.com as your son might be looking for you as well. My birthmom found me even though I only had my birthdate and place and what I thought was a fictional story (it was true, as it turns out). For many (most?) people that are touched by adoption, very little info is found through the government.

    Anyway, good luck to you…I hope you do find him someday. It’s an amazing thing to be found…

    Best wishes,
    Bek

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